Matsumoto’s Daily Apologies: Leaning on Ex-Chairman Ozaki in Times of Crisis | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Matsumoto’s Daily Apologies: Leaning on Ex-Chairman Ozaki in Times of Crisis

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Matsumoto is rocked by allegations of sexual assault. The uproar is said to have affected the duo’s relationship.

The sexual assault allegations by Downtown’s Matsumoto Hitoshi (60) against multiple women have developed into a significant social issue, attracting public attention daily. Amid this, the situation has taken a new turn. A sports newspaper entertainment desk explains the latest developments in the ongoing controversy.

“In the February 1st issue of ‘Weekly Bunshun,’ the 10th female victim of sexual assault came forward. According to the report, a woman who was working as a therapist in 2014 was coerced into sexual acts at a massage parlor in Shibuya, Tokyo, resulting in her developing anxiety disorder. She consulted Shibuya Police about the incident on January 13th this year.


In response to this article, ‘Gogosuma – GO GO! Smile! -‘ (TBS) confirmed the facts with Yoshimoto Kogyo, who refrained from commenting and stated that they currently have no plans to hold a press conference. The police have accepted the report of sexual assault, and for Matsumoto, who is currently in litigation against publications such as Bungeishunju, this could be a blow.”


The partner who has maintained silence since the scandal erupted, Masatoshi Hamada (60), spoke about his feelings towards Matsumoto on his radio show ‘Gobugobu Radio’ (MBS Radio) late at night on January 26th. Although it’s said that they don’t even know each other’s private lives, let alone contact information, a TV magazine writer shares a glimpse of their relationship.

“Atsushi from EXILE, who appeared as a guest on the Gobugobu New Year’s Special broadcast in January 2022 on MBS TV, asked Hamada about his relationship with Matsumoto. Hamada responded, ‘Well, we never really get to be alone with each other. If we were, I wouldn’t know what to do.’ He also mentioned, ‘It’s okay for work, but in private, it’s a bit…’ indicating that he doesn’t have Matsumoto’s contact information.


In a previous show, they were forced to exchange phone numbers, and they made their first phone call on the spot. However, they haven’t called each other since then, and while they haven’t deleted each other’s numbers, they remarked, ‘Even if we call, isn’t it a bit difficult to figure out what to talk about?'”


Despite their usual dynamic, it’s said that the recent scandal has brought some changes to their relationship. According to sources from the production company, Nowadays, they are in frequent contact with each other.

“Shortly before the first report from Bunshun came out at the end of last year, Matsumoto called Hamada to apologize. He apologized for the inconvenience caused to Hamada due to their regular TV shows, commercials, and even being appointed as an ambassador for the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo.

That call served as a turning point, and now they are in contact almost every day. They’ve been classmates since elementary school in their hometown of Amagasaki and have had a relationship spanning over half a century. Hamada understands Matsumoto’s intentions. Despite facing tough situations individually, it’s certain that their relationship has been rebuilt.”

Matsumoto has relied on another person as well. It’s Yu Ozaki (70), the former president of Yoshimoto Kogyo and the original manager of Downtown, who nurtured the duo and currently serves as a senior advisor for the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, a public interest corporation. This information comes from insiders in the entertainment industry.

“On January 29th, during the Expo consideration meeting held in Osaka, Mr. Ozaki attended and mentioned the current issue, stating, ‘I’ve known about it since high school graduation, and I’ve also been their manager. All I can do now is offer support from a distance,’ expressing his feelings. However, he declined to comment on the details.


Although he has already parted ways with Yoshimoto, he still cares about the two. For Matsumoto and Hamada, Mr. Ozaki remains the most trusted person. It is said that Matsumoto contacted Mr. Ozaki first regarding this matter, and they continue to communicate behind the scenes, discussing how to deal with the turmoil.”



The prolonged trial is unavoidable, and for Matsumoto, who continues to face accusations from women alleging sexual misconduct one after another, Mr. Ozaki’s presence may be a glimmer of hope. However, as mentioned earlier, some entertainment industry insiders hold a skeptical view.

“However, Mr. Ozaki has already left Yoshimoto. Currently, he serves as the co-chair of the Expo. It is unclear to what extent he holds influence over Yoshimoto Entertainment at present. In reality, considering the situation led by President Akihiko Okamoto (57), a former manager of Downtown, and Vice President Hiroshi Fujiwara (55), it would be difficult for Mr. Ozaki, despite his background, to intervene or provide advice in this matter. Therefore, Matsumoto continues to deal with the issue alongside his attorney, Mr. Tashiro, as representatives, maintaining the same framework for problem resolution.”

Norio Nishikawa (72), who appeared as a guest on the January 30 broadcast of “Ohayo Teishoku Ichijo, Hiroshi Ikushima” (TBS Radio), disagreed with Matsumoto’s decision to suspend his activities as a senior comedian,

“I think it’s not beneficial for us when suspicions persist over several years, with discussions like ‘this happened’ and ‘no, it didn’t.’ It doesn’t become a positive for us either way.”

With such harsh comments, as the gap widens with the agency, Matsumoto faces the question of whether he can return to the stage where his partner and benefactors await him once again.

  • PHOTO Ippei Hara

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